Reflection for Sunday – November 26, 2017 The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Readings: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25: 31-36
Click here to download a PDF of this homily.
Preacher: Amanda Rayburn

Recent events have me thinking a lot about leadership. Who are our leaders? And
I don’t just mean world or national leaders, but all leaders—local officials,
neighborhood leaders, the presidents of universities and businesses, religious
leaders.

A leader is defined as a person who commands a group, organization or country.
A King is defined as a man who holds by life tenure, the chief authority over a
country and people. A King is central, both geographically and spiritually to his
people. Kings are the lawmakers. Good kings protect their realms and their
people. They provide order, create and inspire creativity and bless the lives of
others. And outside of a monarchy, we can say much of the same about other
“good” leaders.

When I stop to think about it, aren’t we all leaders in our own way? We are
leaders of how we conduct ourselves; we create order in our lives; we create an
inner rule of law and order that keeps us from acting in a manner unbecoming a
king and we bless the lives of those around us. The secret to being a great leader
is to know that we are king only because, by virtue of our baptism, we share
Kingship with The King, Christ the King, King of the Universe.

It is very fitting this weekend to celebrate Christ the King as this Ordinary Time
comes to a close. This feast gives us a preview of the coming fulfillment of the
reign of Christ just in time for our transition into Advent, the season that calls us
to prepare for the coming King. Of course, Christ’s kingship is already present in
the church, so we recognize his kingship alive, through Scripture and the Work of
Christ in the world, here and now, while at the same time, we prepare for the
fulfillment for all things at the end times.

How interesting that on this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the
Universe, we read the Prophet Ezekiel’s image of the Lord as good shepherd, who
“will look after and tend” his sheep. “I will rescue them from every place where
they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark.” Just as a shepherd protects
his sheep, the Lord God protects his people. Ezekiel reminds us that the Lord will
destroy that attitude of “I am sleek and strong” and shepherd us rightly, so that
we know once again that the Lord is our Shepherd.

Matthew’s Gospel account makes clear for us how Christ will measure us as
“sheep” and “goats,” and separate us as such.

In sharing in the Kingship of Christ…
Have we fed the hungry and given drink to the thirsty? Not only, with actual food
and drink, but have we shared the Word of God? Have we brought others to
Mass, so that they receive the real food and real drink of Christ, so that they may
never go hungry or thirsty again?

Have we welcomed the stranger? Have we shared a warm smile, a helping hand,
and an encouraging word with those who think differently than us?

Have we clothed the naked? Not only by sharing warm clothes with those who
have none; but by clothing our infants in Christ, through baptism and raising them
to be children of God?

Have we cared for those who are ill? Have we been there for loved ones or
strangers when they are physically ill? More important, have we been there to
bring those who are ill of body, mind or spirit to Christ?

Have we visited the imprisoned? Even if we cannot visit those in prison, have we
sat with, loved, encouraged, listened to those who are imprisoned by an
unsatisfying or unhappy situation or circumstance?

Each one of us is anointed in Christ at baptism. Like Jesus, we have to be the
humble servant in our world. We have a profound and beautiful example of this
in Pope Francis, who is always about reaching out to the poor and bringing justice
to our world.

One reflection I read about this Solemnity, by Anthony Chezzi, said that we live in
a “humpty-dumpty world,” a broken world. He reminds his readers that there is only one King who can bring fulfillment, and that is Christ the King, raised from the dead.

This week I encourage you, to ponder how your life is a reflection of your shared
kingship with our Gentle Shepherd, Christ the King, King of the Universe.

Amanda Rayburn

Amanda Rayburn

Amanda Rayburn is the director of faith formation at St. Marianne Cope parish in Henrietta, N.Y. She is an associate with the Sisters of Mercy and holds a MAT in teaching elementary education from the University of South Carolina and a Masters Degree in Pastoral Studies from St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry.
Amanda Rayburn
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